Sunday, May 24, 2009

It's Our Way or No Way

Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia was founded by the late Jerry Falwell. This independent, fundamentalist Baptist university made headlines recently when it revoked its recognition of the campus Democratic Party club, saying “we are unable to lend support to a club whose parent organization stands against the moral principles held by” the university.

THEN: According to the Lynchburg News Advance

“It kind of happened out of nowhere,” Brian Diaz, president of LU’s student Democratic Party organization, which LU formally recognized in October.

Diaz said he was notified of the school’s decision May 15 in an e-mail from Mark Hine, vice president of student affairs.

Hine said late Thursday that the university could not sanction an official club that supported Democratic candidates.

“We are in no way attempting to stifle free speech.”

Part of Hine’s e-mail said, “The Democratic Party platform is contrary to the mission of Liberty University and to Christian doctrine (supports abortion, federal funding of abortion, advocates repeal of the federal Defense of Marriage Act, promotes the “LGBT” agenda, hate crimes, which include sexual orientation and gender identity, socialism, etc.)” LGBT refers to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.

AND THEN: According to Liberty University president Jerry Falwell Jr.

“That club still has the right to exist,“ Falwell said, although it cannot use the university’s name in its activities.

“They still can meet on campus,“ in certain rooms, he said. “There is absolutely no animosity at all toward any of these kids.

“They are good, Christian kids who sit with me at ball games. I just hope they find a pro-life family organization to affiliate with so they can be endorsed by Liberty again.“

RESPONSE: Mike Signer, a Democratic candidate for lieutenant governor

“The decision of the Liberty University administration to revoke the recognition of the students’ Democratic organization is deeply troubling. It is even more problematic that the school has decided to continue to recognize the campus Republicans.“

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